By Zanele Mngadi and Sapa

"Oom Bey", as anti-apartheid cleric Beyers Naude is fondly and respectfully known, was honoured on Sunday when the City of Johannesburg renamed D F Malan Drive and Johannesburg's Library Gardens after him.

"It's the greatest honour he has ever received," Naude's son, Johan Naude, said on Sunday.

D F Malan Drive will now be known as Beyers Naude Drive and the Library Gardens is now known as Beyers Naude Square.

The new names were officially unveiled by Johannesburg's executive mayor, Amos Masondo, who said the gestures were one small way to recognise a person who had made a significant contribution to the transformation of South African society, thereby making the country a better place for everyone.

Because of ill health, Naude, 86, was unable to attend the ceremony. His wife Ilse, Johan, his two brothers Hermann and Francois, and other family members were at the celebration, which was attended by hundreds of people.

Also present at the function were former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu, who arrived in a wheelchair.

D F Malan Drive was chosen for the name change because it is the road closest to Beyers' former congregation of Aasvoelkop in Northcliff.

Naude was born in Roodepoort. His father was a Dutch Reformed Church minister who fought in the Anglo-Boer War. Naude was named after a general his father had admired.

  • The renaming of streets in Johannesburg is a simple procedure. A proposal is put to the mayoral committee, which decides whether to approve it or not. It is then presented to a full council meeting for approval.

    The resolution is then advertised, giving members of the public two weeks in which to object. In the case of Beyers Naude Drive, only one objection was received.

    A report is then presented to the mayoral committee, which instructs the Johannesburg Roads Agency to change the signposts.